Running Around the Park Shooting Each Other With Our iPhones

On Saturday, prominent tech venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote about his areas of interest for the coming year. One of the areas he mentioned has really gotten me thinking: the convergence of the mobile, gaming and augmented reality spaces. This is a lot of fancy talk for games you play on your phone that incorporate some aspect of the real world. When Wilson's son heard his dad talking about this he said, "Do you mean me and my friends could run around the park shooting each other with our iPhones?" Right now companies like Foursquare, Gowalla and SCVNGR, among others, are building mobile-based social networks that have gaming components. For instance, on Foursquare people compete to become the "mayor" of a location by checking-in there more than anyone else. While this is an interesting application of the mobile/gaming/social convergence, I'm really excited to see what other kinds of innovations people will make in this area. There's got to be far more interesting ways we can play than scavenger hunts and check-ins.

How about a giant game of Capture the Flag spontaneously organized among all the strangers who happen to be on Central Park's Great Lawn on a given Sunday? Or a distributed murder mystery among hundreds of people on the Lower East Side. The mind reels from the possibilities. This is a space I plan to watch very closely over the coming year.